GAMEDAY College Football

Penn State 44, Ball State 13

(AP Photo/Barry Reeger)

By TRAVIS JOHNSON
Associated Press

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - When Penn State hired Mike Yurcich to be its new offensive coordinator, the team's backs and receivers were ecstatic.

They knew there likely would be a lot of opportunities for all of them to make plays. The No. 11 Nittany Lions' 44-13 win against Ball State on Saturday was the showcase they had in mind.

Sean Clifford completed 21 of 29 passes for 230 yards, ran for a touchdown and threw for another on an afternoon that saw seven different players contribute scoring plays and 14 more touch the ball for an offense that rang up 493 total yards.

"That's going to be a common theme," Clifford said with a grin. "The more guys that get touches the better, especially early in the year."

Running back Noah Cain added a rushing touchdown and wide receiver Jahan Dotson added another, linebacker Jesse Luketa returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown, and Jordan Stout kicked three field goals for the Nittany Lions (2-0).

Backup quarterback Ta-Quan Roberson added a 23-yard touchdown pass to Theo Johnson to cap Penn State's sixth straight win dating to last season.

"I just thought this week on first and second down, offensively we were more effective," Penn State coach James Franklin said. "I just thought we were more balanced. We were more efficient."

Penn State scored on four of five first-half possessions, led 24-6 at halftime, and played suffocating defense. It was the kind of start the Nittany Lions wanted, especially as they welcomed back nearly 106,000 fans to Beaver Stadium for the first time since 2019.

The diehards didn't have to wait long for Penn State to score.

Cain scored on a 5-yard run to cap a 13-play opening drive. Clifford dove into the end zone from a yard out on Penn State's next possession to make it 14-0 less than 10 minutes in.

After a pair of three-and-outs, the Cardinals got on the board on Jake Chanove's 24-yard field goal. He added a 23-yarder as time expired in the first half.

Penn State's defense all but shut the door in the second. The Nittany Lions held the Cardinals to just 142 yards and forced a pair of turnovers.

Luketa's pick-six made it 31-6 with 5:56 left in the third.

The Cardinals (1-1) crossed midfield just twice in the second half. They were able to capitalize in the fourth quarter with Carson Steele's 5-yard run.

Ball State quarterback Drew Plitt completed 25 of 39 passes for 176 yards with two interceptions. He was replaced by John Paddock in the fourth quarter.

"The most disappointing part, I think, on my end right now as soon as the game is over is just some of the opportunities that we did have," Ball State coach Mike Neu said. "We didn't make some plays when there were some available plays to be made."


Scoring Summary
First Quarter BallStPSU
PSU TD 10:01 Noah Cain 5 yd run (Jordan Stout kick) 0 7
PSU TD 5:53 Sean Clifford 1 yd run (Jordan Stout kick) 0 14
Second Quarter BallStPSU
BallSt FG 14:25 Jake Chanove 24 yd FG 3 14
PSU FG 11:22 Jordan Stout 45 yd FG 3 17
PSU TD 2:50 Jahan Dotson 25 yd pass from Sean Clifford (Jordan Stout kick) 3 24
BallSt FG 0:00 Jake Chanove 23 yd FG 6 24
Third Quarter BallStPSU
PSU TD 5:56 Jesse Luketa 16 yd interception return (Jordan Stout kick) 6 31
PSU FG 1:53 Jordan Stout 26 yd FG 6 34
Fourth Quarter BallStPSU
PSU FG 9:59 Jordan Stout 22 yd FG 6 37
BallSt TD 6:54 Carson Steele 6 yd run (Jake Chanove kick) 13 37
PSU TD 2:10 Theo Johnson 23 yd pass from Ta'Quan Roberson (Jordan Stout kick) 13 44
Team Stats
  Ball State Penn State
First downs 20 32
  Rushing 5 16
  Passing 12 15
  Penalty 3 1
3rd Down Efficiency 4-16, 25% 6-13, 46%
4th down efficiency 2-3, 67% 0-0, -%
Rushes-Yards 26-69 48-240
Passing Yards 226 253
Return Yards 0 82
Completions-Attempts-Int 30-45-2 22-31-0
Sacks-Yards Lost 1--9 3--18
Punts 6 3
Punts-Average 44.8 51.3
Fumbles Lost 1-0 1-0
Penalties - Yards 5-57 6-62
Time of Possession 25:51 34:09
Ball State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
D. Plitt 25 39 176 0 2
J. Paddock 5 6 50 0 0
Penn State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
S. Clifford 21 29 230 1 0
T. Roberson 1 2 23 1 0
Ball State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
C. Steele 7 18 2.6 1
W. Jones 8 16 2.0 0
J. Hall 3 16 5.3 0
D. Marcus 4 12 3.0 0
D. Plitt 3 9 3.0 0
J. Jackson 1 -2 -2.0 0
Penn State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
N. Cain 20 69 3.5 1
K. Lee 8 68 8.5 0
S. Clifford 11 66 6.0 1
D. Ford 6 32 5.3 0
J. Dotson 1 7 7.0 0
C. Holmes 1 3 3.0 0
T. Roberson 1 -5 -5.0 0
Ball State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Jackson 4 42 10.5 0
J. Hall 6 35 5.8 0
D. Koch 2 31 15.5 0
C. Rudy 5 28 5.6 0
Y. Tyler 2 21 10.5 0
C. Steele 1 21 21.0 0
C. Brenson 1 12 12.0 0
T. Hohlt 2 8 4.0 0
W. Jones 2 8 4.0 0
H. Littles 1 8 8.0 0
R. Lezon 1 6 6.0 0
J. Williams 2 5 2.5 0
D. Marcus 1 1 1.0 0
Penn State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Dotson 5 65 13.0 1
P. Washington 6 57 9.5 0
N. Cain 3 30 10.0 0
T. Johnson 2 29 14.5 1
K. Lee 1 24 24.0 0
C. Sullivan-Brown 1 16 16.0 0
K. Lambert-Smith 1 13 13.0 0
B. Strange 1 10 10.0 0
D. Ford 1 6 6.0 0
M. Wilson 1 3 3.0 0
Ball State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
Penn State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
J. Luketa 1 16
D. Hardy 1 -1
Ball State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
N. Snyder 6 269 44.8
Penn State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
J. Stout 3 154 51.3
Ball State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Penn State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
J. Dotson 1 0 0
Ball State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Penn State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
D. Ford 3 67 22.3
Ball State Missed FG
Player Length
Penn State Missed FG
Player Length
J. Stout 45




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